THE Cuba Domadores begin the defence of their World Series of Boxing (WSB) title at home in Havana against WSB newcomers Morocco Atlas Lions.
The Lions could not have asked for a tougher draw in their opening contest against the defending Champions, but they will be full of confidence and excitement, and will be aiming to cause the biggest upset in the history of the competition.
Boxing fans in Cuba can view the event live on Friday 16th January at 8.30pm (local time) on the TV Cubana, while fans across the world can watch the action free, live and on demand 20:30 (GMT -5) at AIBABoxingTV.com.
In the first fight of the evening, Cuba’s 2013 AIBA Junior World Champion Joahnys Oscar Argilagos Perez competes at Light flyweight (49 kg) against Moroccan National Champion Zouhair El Bekkali who also won the Mohamed VI Trophy in October, and is no stranger to competing in Cuba, having reached the semi-finals of the Roberto Balado Cup in June 2014.
Fight two is at Bantamweight (56 kg), as Cuba’s 2012 Olympic Champion Robeisy Ramirez looks to maintain his undefeated WSB record against Morocco’s National Champion and Mohamed VI Trophy winner Mohamed Hamout, who like his teammate El Bekkali will be hoping his successful year will inspire him against one of the best Bantamweights in the world.
Two-time AIBA World Championships silver medalist and Olympic bronze medalist Yasniel Toledo went 5-2 in WSB last season, and will hope to dominate the Light welterweight (64 kg) division again.
His opponent is Morocco’s Hamza El Barbari who took silver in June’s Giraldo Córdova Cardín tournament in Cuba, and was narrowly defeated by Toledo in the Mohammed VI Cup last year.
El Barbari took a round of Toledo in that three frame affair, and will hope the longer WSB format will increase his chances of picking up a priceless victory.
Former AIBA Junior World Champion Arlen Lopez made his WSB last season, and claimed his first win in the competition in September’s “Clash of Champions” match against Astana Arlans Kazakhstan.
The Cuban won many tournaments last season, and the Middleweight (75 kg) will look to become a key member of the Domadores this season.
Trying to stop him will be Morocco’s Badreddine Haddioui, who competed at the London 2012 Olympic Games.
Erislandy Savon was named as the best boxer of WSB last season after the Heavyweight (91 kg) went 8-0 in the competition.
His first opponent in Season V is Morocco’s Amine Azzouzi who fought at the 2011 AIBA World Championships, and the last fight of the evening should produce fireworks.